And an invitation….
For many military historians, mentioning “June” instantly brings to mind Hattin, Waterloo, Bunker Hill and Operation Overlord, Normandy, 1944; battles which fundamentally altered history. But there was another battle in another June which also profoundly changed the world—and redefined America’s place in it.
By the time America entered World War I in April 1917, the British Imperial and French armies had been all but bled dry, having lost 2 million killed in action and over 6 million wounded. While Germany and its allies had also suffered horrendous casualties, they knew the American army was pitifully small, ill-equipped, inexperienced and an ocean away from intervention.
They were right. The process of conscripting and outfitting 2.8 million men and transporting them to France meant there was virtually no American presence on the battlefield until the spring of 1918, and even then, the Yanks initially deployed in relatively small numbers. In the meantime, Germany’s fortunes had changed dramatically. The Russian armistice on the Eastern Front freed up 50 divisions of battle-hardened troops to be thrown against the shaky and shell-shocked trenchlines of France.
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